Commonwealth Journal

December 27, 2013

MMF’s New Year's Gala Dec. 31 at Center

’13 was successful year for organization

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Master Musicians Festival isn’t just a summer time thing—it’s also a great way to ring in the new year.
Continuing the 20-year celebration of Somerset’s own beloved outdoor music showcase, the Master Musicians Festival (MMF) New Year’s Eve Gala will be held Tuesday, December 31, at The Center for Rural Development.
It’s been a big 2013 for MMF, certainly — in addition to the calendar milestone, the festival welcomed likely the biggest-name performer in its history in country star Willie Nelson.
Additionally, MMF was recognized for its success at the national level as well. In November, the festival took home the “Event or Festival of the Year” courtesy of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Shining Example Awards. MMF beat out festivals from an area including 14 different U.S. states to take home the top prize for events hosting under 100,000 people. 
Thus, it’s only fitting that MMF should close out this most special year with a celebration as it enters 2014 and an even brighter future.
“We are doing it to do something nice for the fans, to promote the festival halfway through the year and keep it on people’s minds,” said Tiffany Bourne, MMF board president.
It’s the second time MMF has held a New Year’s Eve event of this sort, making it a new holiday tradition here in Pulaski County. 
“Last year, we used it as a fundraiser, and it turned out to be a great event,” said Bourne. “Everyone loved it.”
The money raised was “a start” toward securing everything the board needed to pay for this past year’s star-studded MMF, and as the event hopes to grow in the future, this coming gala could provide the same kind of spark for the festivals of the future.
Naturally, the gala will feature live music — Kelly Rae Burton, a local singer-songwriter talent, will kick things off and open for the Jordan English Band.
“They’re actually great artists on their original stuff,” said Bourne of the Jordan English Band, noting that the act is also able to serve as a highly entertaining cover band for events such, well, New Year’s Eve parties. “They play all the fun cover songs you can think of.”
There will be both a silent an live auction, featuring a number of desirable items. Chief among them in the live auction is a guitar signed by none other than Willie Nelson himself when he played the MMF stage last July.
Also up for bid is a pair of backstage passes — the only two that the festival will issue for 2014 to anyone who isn’t directly involved with MMF.
Doors open at 8 p.m. Cost is $60 per person — food and drinks are included in the cost. The event is for ages 21 and up only. For a reserved table that seats eight, cost is $480.
For ticket information, contact Bourne directly at 606-875-6732 or  at,
“We’re definitely excited to let people know how great our year was,” said Bourne. “It’s just one of those things where the festival keeps getting bigger and bigger and more popular in the community.”